Justly called the Flame of the Forest, the Palash is mentioned in the Ramayana written by Valmiki Rishi 2000 years ago. It is a small , crooked tree, which grows throughout the Indian subcontinent.
There is also a yellow flowering Palash, which is rarely seen. Known to botanists as Butea monosperma, the Palash belongs to the Pea family. It is a very resilient tree and can tolerate drought, fire and water logging. It is called Muttuga in Karnataka and Dhak in MadhyaPradesh.
The lac insects breed on the Palash trees.A cottage industry produces shellac, a natural varnish, by breeding these insects on pollarded Palash trees.Strong, thick ropes are woven from the fibre of the bark. These ropes are used by river boats.
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